London Santa Claus Parade

November 25th, 2007 by Potato

Almost every year I’ve watched the Toronto Santa Claus Parade on TV, and gone down in person a few times (twice as a kid, and at least once as an adult with my parade-loving other half). It’s always a top-notch affair, and I think it’s inspired a lot of other cities and towns to do the same (or maybe it has something to do with Christmas). Anyhow, this is the first year that we’ve bothered to go downtown to watch the London Santa Claus Parade in person. It was a pretty good show, with some high-quality well-integrated floats (notably the entry by Kellogg’s), as well as a number of sadder-looking “let’s throw a tree and some lights on a trailer” floats. I’m not trying to disparage the London parade for that: the Toronto one has a lot more advertising and money, etc., that goes into it, and the London one was still a good show even if it was more low-key. Of course, the Toronto one also gets entrants from all over the place, to get the best marching bands and the best float entries, etc. In London, it’s all local.

Which made some of the sights pretty surprising. For instance, London has all kinds of weirdo dance and band groups, a unicycle club, and more shriners than you can shake a stick at! (I think there were 3 separate groups of shriners that went through, and each group was pretty substantial!) Some things really weren’t very wintery or Christmasy, such as the group of Jedi and stormtroopers that walked by. Wayfare mentioned before they got to us how cool it would have been to be in the marching band — she briefly considered joining the Western one when she was in grad school. I sort of shrugged my shoulders, not thinking that would be all that cool, but then the Jedi came by and I was all like “wow, how cool would it be to be a Jedi in the parade?!” “That would be pretty cool, of course, when I was thinking of joining the marching band, I didn’t realize that was an option. I still don’t quite get how it relates to Santa…”

The parade didn’t quite go off without a hitch: the route was different this year because of the giant sinkhole, so apparently it’s more picturesque as it rolls by decorated shop fronts, rather than the more barren facade of Queens. Beyond that, it was quite a bit later rolling by than we expected, and there were two or three very large gaps where there was nobody coming for almost as far as we could see (at least 5 or 6 blocks) and we started to wonder if the parade had ended without Santa (we knew from the paper that there was some minor controversy with Santa). London, unlike many other cities’ Santa Claus Parades, holds its at night. That makes the lights (and lightsabers!) all the more impressive as they go by, but it also makes it colder, so those big waiting periods weren’t really appreciated.

This is just about the time of the year when my family puts up the tree (sometimes we might even wait until December), but Wayfare’s traditionally does theirs while the Santa Claus Parade is on TV. A nice little tradition, so we’re going to watch our tape of it tomorrow and put the tree up then…

One Response to “London Santa Claus Parade”

  1. Wayfare Says:

    I looked up who the group of people in the parade dressed in Star Wars costumes were. Apparently, that’s just what their group does: